THE Queen famously never complains or explains, and it’s at occasions like the state banquet with US President Donald Trump when that policy proves invaluable.
No one knows her views on the man himself (though their body language suggests that she rather likes him), only that she represents the appreciation this country has for America’s “special relationship” with Britain and, in particular, its role in helping the Allies win World War Two.
In the all-important arena of diplomatic relations, that’s exactly as it should be.
Particularly when the visit is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, when thousands of troops from both nations sacrificed their lives so we could enjoy the freedoms we have today.
One of those freedoms, of course, is the right to protest on the streets without fear of being carted off to a dark corner and bumped off by state police. So if the proles want to protest against Trump, then it’s their hard-earned (by others) right to do so.
But when the Leader of the Opposition snubs the Queen’s state banquet to virtue-signal his right-on credentials alongside them, it’s just plain embarrassing.
Particularly when that same “leader” was once present but “not involved” when a wreath was laid at the grave of, among others, the terrorists who masterminded the 1972 Olympics massacre in Munich.
As Labour MP Luciana Berger said at the time the story broke last year, “being ‘present’ is the same as being involved”.
But I digress. Trump is a bruiser for whom sticks and stones break nothing, but more worryingly, the opprobrium rained on his head — largely by the metropolitan elite — is also a major slight against the millions of US citizens who voted for him in a democratic election and will probably do so again.
The majority of Americans have an immense fondness for our country, but will they feel the same way after witnessing the embarrassing spectacle of a balloon that depicts the leader of the Free World as a baby in a nappy?
Or the myriad banner-wavers — plenty of whom didn’t bother to get out of bed when other controversial world leaders visited these shores?
D-DAY SACRIFICE IN DANGER OF BEING OVERSHADOWED
I’m not a Trump fan either, but I view this visit as a President representing a country with whom we have long shared a bond and, unless we are politically naive fools, should hope to do so long after Trump and the rest of us are six feet under.
The Queen — who has hosted far worse than President Trump in her 67-year reign — clearly sees it that way too.
And what of those whose selfless sacrifice on D-Day is in danger of being overshadowed by anti-Trump sentiment?
Perhaps, amid all the virtue-signalling, we should ask, and more importantly listen to, their thoughts on the matter.
British Army veteran John Duke, from Surrey, was awarded France’s prestigious Legion d’Honneur medal in 2017 as thanks for his part in its liberation.
Now 98, he says: “It’s important we remember what happened.
“Most of the time, I was wondering whether I would make it or not. My main thought was to carry on with the job and hope it would work out.”
Asked for his views on Trump’s intended appearance at a D-Day anniversary event in Portsmouth tomorrow, he said he accepted that not everyone liked the US leader, but added: “I think it’s good that he will be there.
“They are our great allies and he is the president of one of the greatest nations in the world.”
Hear hear. On top of that, Trump has brought his extended family along for the trip, such is his pride at his British heritage.
Whatever you think of “The Donald”, one thing is certain — his love for Britain appears to dwarf that of some of our most prominent politicians for whom an overgrown baby effigy might seem equally appropriate.
Ticket? I’d like a prayer
MADONNA has announced the dates for her Madame X tour – an “intimate concert experience” at the London Palladium next year.
A Madge acolyte from year dot, I have “verified fan” status (a device she uses to try to prevent industry figures or touts getting tickets) so set my phone alarm for 8.59am on Friday, May 24 – one minute before lines opened.
Despite being faster on the draw than Billy the Kid, I still only managed to get tickets for row O in the stalls (for, I Billy-the-Kid you not, the price of a family holiday) because those in front of me had been released earlier to verified “superfans”.
What does that mean?
Presumably, you have to have broken into her house at least three times.
Kids like normal
WHEN Waitrose vans deliver food to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Norfolk estate, Prince George regularly greets the drivers and helps them in with the bags.
An insider says it’s a sign that his parents are bringing him up to be polite and helpful, but it’s also proof that kids – whatever their background – crave normality.
Years ago, a farmer friend collected his then six-year-old daughter from a play date at a terraced house in the nearby town.
“Why don’t we have a garden like Emma’s?” she complained.
When they got home, he pointed to their acres of farmland and said: “That’s our garden.”
“That’s not a proper garden,” she replied. “It hasn’t got a white fence.”
When I next visited, there was a white picket fence surrounding a 20ft by 20ft patch of grass outside the back door and one very happy six-year-old.
Saving Ms Banks
HEAD teacher Alison Banks sent an email riddled with spelling errors while trying to big up the achievements of her primary school in Whetstone, Leics.
When the mistakes were flagged, she mitigated: “I was working in half-term. It was 4.15 on a Sunday when I sent it. I’m only human.”
Yes, a human working in an education system where one of the mantras drummed into children is to check your work before submitting it.
Equally, the typed mistakes of “improovement” and “prestigous” would have been flagged up by the computer with a red line.
Must do better, Ms Banks.
Or should I say “doo”?
Millie’s Monster success
ACTRESS Millie Bobby Brown says she had to switch schools when she lived in the UK because bullies made her life hell.
Given that she’s one of the star turns in the smash-hit Netflix series Stranger Things and has a lead role in the new big-budget Godzilla movie, it’s fair to say that she’s having the last laugh.
Maj’s 7m reasons to cheer
PRIOR to donning her best bib and diamond-studded tucker for the state banquet, the Queen attended the Epsom Derby where she yelled in frustration as her horse, Sextant, trailed in fourth despite being favourite to win.
Mind you, as one has earned around £7million winnings from one’s racehorses over the past 30 years, one can’t complain too much.
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Who's the daddy
GENETIC tests show that one in ten don’t have the biological father they think. Some say the dilemma for the medical profession is whether to flag it up.
Hmmm. Tricky one.
Medically, there could be understandable concerns that someone might have a serious inheritable condition they don’t know about.
But morally, it remains that the highly emotive words of “mum” or “dad” aren’t necessarily solely the preserve of those who conceived you.
It’s a title hard earned by those who stick around to bring you up.